Notre Dame Students Condemn University President for Allowing Obama Speech

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notre Dame Students Condemn University President for Allowing Obama Speech

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 25
, 2009

South Bend, IN ( — While much of the condemnation of the speech pro-abortion President Barack Obama will be allowed to give at Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony has come from outside the university, an ad hoc assembly of student groups representing thousands of students is opposing the decision.

The statement criticizes the president’s position on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and other life issues, and chastises university administration for apparently overlooking what they termed "fundamental moral principles."

The student organizations, including such groups as Notre Dame Right to Life, the College Republicans, Federalist Society, and Irish Rover independent student newspaper, are blasting Notre Dame president John Jenkins.

"In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins‘ invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principal commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree," the groups said.

"Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages," they say.

"Further, the University’s decision runs counter to the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians. We cannot sit by idly while the University honors someone who believes that an entire class of human beings is undeserving of the most basic of all legal rights, the right to live," the groups continue.

The students are upset at the position the university’s decision puts them in — making it difficult for Notre Dame seniors to participate in their special day.

"Fr. Jenkins has put some of his students into a position of moral dilemma as to whether they can attend their own graduation," the groups say. "Many pro-life seniors, along with their families, now feel personally conflicted about participating in the commencement."

Emily Toates of Notre Dame Right to Life talked about the statement.

"We want to emphasize that we are not attacking the office of the President, but taking issue with his moral stances. I think the statement makes it clear that the student body of Notre Dame is not unequivocally in favor of this decision,” she said.

The groups’ statement calls Jenkins "lack of concern" about the effects of his decision "shameful."

The statement calls on pro-life groups to let Notre Dame students, professors and staff lead the opposition to the Obama invitation.

The organizations involved in the statement say they are planning future meetings to determine how best to respond on graduation day and to engage the university community about the decision.

Other groups involved in the ad hoc statement include Jus Vitae, the Notre Dame Anscombe Society, Identity Project of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Militia Immaculata, Children of Mary, the Orestes Brownson Council, and the St. Thomas More Society.

Related web sites:
Notre Dame response –

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